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VFL: Zebras trump Borough to keep season alive

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22:  Rowan Marshall of Sandringham chases the ball during the round two VFL match between Sandringham and Richmond at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on April 22, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/AFL Media)
Elevated rookie Rowan Marshall was impressive on Saturday.

Sandringham has returned to the winner’s list with a stirring eight-point win over ladder leaders Port Melbourne at North Port Oval on Saturday.

The Zebras came to play and caught the Borough off guard early, kicking the first three goals of the game to get off to the best possible start away from from the comforts of Trevor Barker Oval.

Inaccuracy cost the home side in the second term while the Zebras kicked another two goals for the quarter to take a 30-point advantage at the main break.

In what was a relatively even third term between the two sides, the Zebras still held ascendency with a quarter to play but knew the Borough would come hard to arrest the 25-point deficit.

Port rallied to win the quarter by three goals and kicked the last three majors of the game in a bid to overtake the inexperienced Sandringham, only for the siren to beat them and the Zebras victorious for their only second away win of 2017.

Injury Watch

Defender Bailey Rice copped a heavy knock minutes into the opening term and landed awkwardly to injure his ankle.

Despite some strapping and jogs along the boundary in a bid to return to the ground, the second-year Saint was straight into the rooms by half-time and will have scans during the week.

Standout Zebras

Swingman Rowan Marshall continues to impress at Sandringham and proved pivotal in the Zebras’ win, earning much praise from VFL coach Lindsay Gilbee.

Elevated from the St Kilda rookie list this week, the 21-year-old kicked the first two goals of the game to finish with 17 disposals and six marks, while a crucial contested mark in the dying moments when the Borough was coming was a key moment.

Luke Dunstan again put his hand up for an AFL recall with 27 disposals, four tackles and a classy third quarter goal, while Blake Acres led the disposals with 29 copping a heavy tag all afternoon.

Nick O’Kearney continues to maintain consistency, finishing with 23 disposals and a team high seven tackles.

The next challenge

Sandringham’s confidence will be high following the win over Port Melbourne that could serve them well when they travel to Simonds Stadium to face Geelong next Saturday afternoon.

The Cats are a tough assignment at home and sit just outside the top eight, eager to feature in September as the run home draws near.